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Seitan and Mock Indian Butter Chicken Curry (Vegan)

Happy Pioneer Day!

I should be preparing a special Pioneer Day feast... but we are eating something else tonight. Something that I have been reading about the Pioneers though is that they ate lots of fruits and vegetables and lived in harmony with the land. So you could say that the meal I am preparing for dinner tonight would be right up their alley. I'm making this meal from the Forks over Knives website. I will be making some changes to it though. I'm using spinach in place of collards and butternut squash in place of yams. If there had been any native African people crossing the plains with the pioneers - they would have loved it. 


I read somewhere that seitan was popular among Mormons. I don't know how true that is because most Mormons that I know are particularly happy with eating lots and lots of meat and dairy. That's probably because a lot of Mormons are Americans and Americans eat the standard American diet. 

Anyway, I wanted to know a little bit about the history of seitan - also called wheat meat or wheat gluten. It was developed in China - not by the pioneers. Although the pioneers did live off of wheat - they made biscuits from the flour - they probably didn't eat wheat in this form but I bet they would have loved it.

Now the easiest way to get wheat gluten is to buy it already prepared. If you want to make it yourself and add your own spices or shape it a certain way - then the next easiest way is to make it with gluten powder also called Vital Wheat Gluten Flour. This removes the washing and kneading steps. 

My Seitan firming up in cold water - looks like a sponge from the sea.

I don't have any gluten powder so I had to make it the long way. The first time I made it with fresh ground whole wheat - trying to be healthier and it didn't turn out... it just made a big mess... what a waste of wheat.

But I was not going to give up that fast. The next time I made it with all-purpose flour and I followed a YouTube video from to make sure I didn't fail.

I did half the recipe though because I don't have any bowls big enough to work with 7-8 cups of flour. Kneading the flour took forever - well under the water it did. The video was very helpful in getting it right though. It shrinks a lot. There is a lot of starch in wheat. I read on wikipedia that companies that make gluten products have to pay a fine to dispose of all that starch to sewage. It's a lot. So, hopefully I can find some gluten powder pretty quickly because I have a whole list of things I wanna make. Seitan Sausages, Seitan Frikendal, Seitan Hache, etc.

Anyway, last night I made seitan spiced with ginger, curry and garam masala. And then I didn't have any tamari sauce so I used Ketjap Manis. I was very happy with the results and used it to make Indian Butter Chicken. Next time though I think I will steam the seitan because it was a bit too tender for this dish. 

Mock "Indian Butter Chicken" Curry

I'm very happy with the changes I made to my favorite Indian Butter Chicken recipe as well. It still tasted very close to the original recipe but is 100% vegan - no animal products at all. Normally I used Greek Yogurt as I like the sauce quite thick. But I managed to keep it pretty thick in this version.

Here is what I did:

1 Tablespoon unrefined palm oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced fine (about 1 medium)
2 teaspoons lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf

100 grams concentrated coconut cream 
1 can diced tomatoes
1 box Heinz Tomato Frito (330 grams)
1 can coconut milk (Do not shake); separated
1/4 cup white cashew butter

I skip the step where you fry up and brown the chicken because we are using seitan that is already heavily spiced.

In wok, heat oil and fry onion till soft and translucent. Add lemon juice and spices. Add coconut cream. Add juice from diced tomatoes and stir around to break up and thin out coconut cream. Add remaining tomatoes and tomato Frito sauce. From the can of coconut milk - first add all of the thick creamy part that has gathered at the top. Then stir the rest of the contents of the coconut milk and add about another 1/3 cup to the curry. Stir well. Stir in the cashew butter and mix well. Add the prepared seitan and heat through. Serve with Indian naan bread, warmed pitas or roti bread.

There is a real nice recipe for Cornmeal and Poppyseed Roti from Isa's book Veganomicon. If you have that book - I recommend that recipe!


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